Soren Kierkegaard Quotes

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  • If I were to wish for anything, I should not wish for wealth and power, but for the passionate sense of the potential, for the eye which, ever young and ardent, sees the possible. Pleasure disappoints, possibility never. And what wine is so sparkling, what so fragrant, what so intoxicating, as possibility!

    Soren Kierkegaard (1959). “Either/ Or”
  • God has given each of us our "marching order." Our purpose here on Earth is to find those orders and carry them out. Those orders acknowledge our special gifts.

  • Had I to carve an inscription on my tombstone I would ask for none other than "The Individual."

  • In order to help another effectively, I must understand what he understands. If I do not know that, my greater understanding will be of no help to him... instruction begins when you put yourself in his place so that you may understand what he understands and in the way he understands it.

  • Spirit is the third, yet in such a way that one can speak of a synthesis only when the spirit is posited.

    "The Concept of Anxiety". Book by Soren Kierkegaard, p. 85, Soren Kierkegaard.
  • Human relations are like the irregular verbs in a number of languages where nearly all verbs are irregular.

    Soren Kierkegaard (2015). “Papers and Journals”, p.62, Penguin UK
  • The God that can be named is not God.

  • Imagine hidden in a simpler exterior a secret receptacle wherein the most precious treasure is deposited - there is a spring which has to be pressed, but the spring is hidden, and the pressure must have a certain strength, so that an accidental pressure would not be sufficient. So likewise is the hope of eternity hidden in man's inmost parts, and affliction is the pressure. When it presses the hidden spring, and strongly enough, then the contents appear in all their glory.

  • In actuality, no one ever sank so deep that he could not sink deeper, and there may be one or many who sank deeper. So it is always possible to be happy and grateful that things are not worse!

  • Father in Heaven! When the thought of thee wakes in our hearts let it not awaken like a frightened bird that flies about in dismay, but like a child waking from its sleep with a heavenly smile.

    Journal entry (translated by Alexander Dru, 1938).
  • Pleasure disappoints; possibility never.

    Soren Kierkegaard (1959). “Either/ Or”
  • If someone who wanted to learn to dance were to say: For centuries, one generation after the other has learned the positions, and it is high time that I take advantage of this and promptly begin with the quadrille--people would presumably laugh a little at him, but in the world of spirit this is very plausible. What, then, is education? I believed it is the course the individual goes through in order to catch up with himself, and the person who will not go through this course is not much helped by being born in the most enlightened age.

  • I begin with the principle that all men are bores. Surely no one will prove himself so great a bore as to contradict me in this.

    Soren Kierkegaard (1959). “Either/ Or”
  • This fact, that the opposite of sin is by no means virtue, has been overlooked. The latter is partly a pagan view, which is content with a merely human standard, and which for that very reason does not know what sin is, that all sin is before God. No, the opposite of sin is faith.

    "The Sickness unto Death". Book by Soren Kierkegaard, Part Two: Despair Is Sin, pp. 114 - 115, 1849.
  • What looks like politics, and imagines itself to be political, will one day unmask itself as a religious movement.

  • Nowadays not even a suicide kills himself in desperation. Before taking the step he deliberates so long and so carefully that he literally chokes with thought. It is even questionable whether he ought to be called a suicide, since it is really thought which takes his life. He does not die with deliberation but from deliberation.

  • The stone that was rolled before Christ's tomb might appropriately be called the philosopher's stone because its removal gave not only the pharisees but, now for 1800 years, the philosophers so much to think about.

  • Christianity demands the crucifixion of the intellect.

  • Where there are two people, there is untruth.

  • It requires courage not to surrender oneself to the ingenious or compassionate counsels of despair that would induce a man to eliminate himself from the ranks of the living; but it does not follow from this that every huckster who is fattened and nourished in self-confidence has more courage than the man who yielded to despair.

    "The Concept of Irony: With Constant Reference to Socrates". Book by Søren Kierkegaard, Collins, "Irony as a Mastered Moment: The Truth of Irony," pt. 2, 1966.
  • No one may pride himself at being more than an individual, and no one despondently think that he is not an individual.

    Soren Kierkegaard (2013). “Purity of Heart is to Will One Thing”, p.109, Simon and Schuster
  • The melancholy have the best sense of the comic, the opulent often the best sense of the rustic, the dissolute often the best sense of the moral, and the doubter often the best sense of the religious.

  • The truth is a snare: you cannot have it, without being caught. You cannot have the truth in such a way that you catch it, but only in such a way that it catches you.

  • Irony is the cultivation of the spirit and therefore follows next after immediacy; then comes the ethicist, then the humourist, then the religious person.

    "Concluding Unscientific Postscript to Philosophical Fragments". Book by Soren Kierkegaard, p. 504, February 28, 1846.
  • All the shrewdness of 'man' seeks one thing: to be able to live without responsibility.

    Soren Kierkegaard (1959). “Attack Upon 'Christendom'”
  • There are two kinds of geniuses. The characteristic of the one is roaring, but the lightning is meagre and rarely strikes; the other kind is characterized by reflection by which it constrains itself or restrains the roaring. But the lightning is all the more intense; with the speed and sureness of lightning it hits the selected particular points - and is fatal.

  • It will be easy for us the first time we receive that ball of yarn from Ariadne (love) and then go through all the mazes of the labyrinth (life) and kill the monster. But how many there are who plunge into life (the labyrinth) without taking that precaution?

    "Søren Kierkegaard's Journals and Papers: Autobiographical, 1829-1848". Book by Søren Kierkegaard and Gregor Malantschuk, p. 36, Journal entry (August 1, 1835), 1978.
  • No, I won't leave the world--I'll enter a lunatic asylum and see if the profundity of insanity reveals to me the riddles of life. Idiot, why didn't I do that long ago, why has it taken me so long to understand what it means when the Indians honour the insane, step aside for them? Yes, a lunatic asylum--don't you think I may end up there?

  • Repetition is the reality and the seriousness of life.

  • If a man cannot forget, he will never amount to much.

    Soren Kierkegaard (1946). “Either/or”
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  • We hope you have found the saying you were looking for in our collection! At the moment, we have collected 496 quotes from the Philosopher Soren Kierkegaard, starting from May 5, 1813! We periodically replenish our collection so that visitors of our website can always find inspirational quotes by authors from all over the world! Come back to us again!